Blue Coat agrees to be acquired for $1.3bn


Security and WAN optimisation provider Blue Coat Systems has agreed to be acquired for $1.3 billion (836 million).

The vendor's board has apporoved the acquisition by an investor group led by San Francisco-based private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo.

Blue Coat confirmed it would focus on its core areas of internet security and WAN optimisation.

"After an extensive evaluation of strategic alternatives with our independent advisors, the board has determined that the definitive agreement with Thoma Bravo provides an attractive all-cash valuation to our shareholders," said David Hanna, chairman of the board at Blue Coat.

"We look forward to completing the transaction under the terms of the agreement as expeditiously as possible."

Blue Coat has suffered from declining sales this year, as well as a stock drop of 41 per cent, Reuters reported.

The company is also being probed by the US Commerce Department to see whether Blue Coat provided internet-blocking equipment to Syria something which would break a US trade embargo to the troubled nation.

Blue Coat said it was working with the US Government, claiming it believed its equipment had been transferred illegally to Syria.

WikiLeaks has also claimed Blue Coat technology was sold to Governments and subsequently used to prevent dissidents from organising protests online.

Blue Coat said its technologies were "being cast with all these things and that's not what our products do."

The company also replaced its CEO in August during a turbulent year.

Who's Thoma Bravo?

Thoma Bravo is one of the owners of Attachmate, the company that was bought from Novell last year for $2.2 billion.

The company has some major investments in the tech sector. It claimed to have a strong interest in the security industry too.

"Blue Coat marks the continuation of Thoma Bravo's investment efforts in the security technology industry, and is the firm's fifth security technology platform investment," said Seth Boro, partner at Thoma Bravo .

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.